Please Attend the Next
Rate Advisory Committee Meeting
on January 18
In the world of water, finding the balance between the consumer, commerce and conservation is at the heart of ongoing discussions continuing among members of the Ventura Water Cost of Service and Rate Design Citizen Advisory Committee.
The nine-member volunteer committee is charged with assisting Ventura Water with its Cost of Service and Rate Design Study
currently underway. The Committee’s latest meeting, held December 14 at the City Maintenance Yard, ran for 3½ hours and included detailed overviews of financial plans and compared rate structures.
“There’s a lot of hard work going on to really protect the interests of the customers’ pocketbooks while at the same time ensuring that our water utilities will thrive into the future,” said Shana Epstein, General Manager, after the marathon meeting that wrapped up at 9:30 p.m.
During the meeting, consultant Sudhir Pardiwala of Raftelis Financial Consultants presented an updated long-range financial plan that projects the needs of Ventura’s water and wastewater systems through 2025 and beyond. Pardiwala’s presentation also included two scenarios to fund an extensive capital infrastructure program: one that assumes 87 percent debt funding and the other that assumes 67 percent debt funding. Pardiwala pointed out that while the higher debt option of 87 percent may result in lower rate increases for the first few years, ratepayers will pay more “over the life of the 30-year loan."
While the financial plans are important tools to steady rate adjustments and to ensure bond covenants are met, Epstein noted that they do not replace the annual budget process.
“The long-range financial plan establishes a general road map to fiscal stability,” Epstein said. “The budget and revenue adjustments will be realigned as needed over the coming years.”
Ventura residents are encouraged to attend the Committee’s next meeting on Wednesday, January 18 at 6 p.m.
at the City Maintenance Yard, 336 Sanjon Road.
Building to Protect Our Environment
A $21 million, two-year capital improvement project to remove more nutrients from the water treated by the Ventura Water Reclamation Facility came online recently.
The Reclamation Facility, situated near Ventura Harbor, releases 8 to 9 million gallons of treated water daily into the Santa Clara River Estuary, where the river meets the Pacific Ocean. During the activated sludge treatment process, ammonia is converted to nitrate, which unlike ammonia, is not considered toxic. However, nitrate is a nutrient that in sufficient quantities can affect oxygen levels in receiving waters and, in Ventura’s case, could lead to algae blooms and other ecosystem disruptions in the fragile Santa Clara River Estuary.
A 70 percent reduction in nitrate to protect the Estuary was required by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board in 2008 as a condition of Ventura’s discharge permit. In conjunction with the upgrade, the project provided an opportunity to modernize facility infrastructure components and associated equipment, some of which have been in service since the 1960s.
The rates paid by Ventura Water customers fund our capital improvement program, which includes important projects like this one. It represents an investment by our community to protect our local water resources and will pay dividends today and serve future generations tomorrow.
To learn more about this project, visit www.cityofventura.net/water/wastewater